Eleni Top and Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns, Includes a Pregnancy Version!

Another DesignerStitch pattern test for both a top and dress. The Eleni (Aff link**) is a modern design that can be easily modified to suit your fashion and comfort specifications. It comes as a top, tunic, short dress or maxi with a number of sleeve variations and optional ruffle or straps and instructions for a modesty panel or to convert to a peasant style outfit. Plus a neck and waist tie. Value for money people!!!

I offered to test* this pattern knowing my baby bump may affect the way this top draped. I chose the top version with the flounce and straps. I chose to omit the sleeves altogether and just added bias binding around the armholes, but otherwise construction was as per the instructions. My fabric is some sort of paisley cotton, my fabric catalogue goes hazy at the start of my pregnancy!!

                                                                             

As a personal preference I also made the straps half the width of the recommended pattern piece. It still covers my bra straps perfectly. As is visible from the photos though, the baby bump raises the front hemline, I assure you it’s definitely straight. I didn’t take this into account when cutting because will more than likely wear this top post baby.

Additionally, I hadn’t realised until my photos were posted on Facebook in the testing group that I had worn this top incorrectly, ie it should be going over the arms, not under, so bare this in mind, yours will look different.

For version 2 I decided to make a maxi dress, again with the flounce and short sleeves. This is using the finalised pattern. I cheated and made this from knit fabric so it can actually stretch/grow with me for the last few months of pregnancy, but also hoping it would recover well post pregnancy and be comfortable for breastfeeding (without the straps). I sized down by one size as there is some ease with this pattern.

To the left is my inspiration. I wanted a basic black version but wanted to do some stash busting and so used this grey jersey knit instead, plus I had 4 metre of it. I  went with the waist tie with the thought that post pregnancy it would help with the waist definition. I again added the straps to this version but to half the width of the pattern piece. My chest needs all the support it can get so going strapless at this stage isn’t an option, although they can easily be removed at a later date if necessary. Here it’s shown with my bump at 38 weeks.

 

 

Coral Off Shoulder Ruffle Maternity Maxi

                                              

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

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Willow Kimono by DesignerStitch Patterns

Have you noticed a recurring theme here? I have sewn up many DesignerStitch** Patterns in the past and still have a couple to show you in the future and hope to test many more. I believe Ann has designed classy, well-fitting silhouettes that don’t date.

The Willow Kimono** (aff. link) was tested* back in December of 2016 and has had a fair bit of wear since then. I wanted to make up a couple more but just haven’t got around to it yet. It’s boho style makes it on trend and also versatile as a beach wrap or a light covering for a night out and best made from light weight fabric. It’s available in 3 lengths, high/low, mid thigh, or lower calf length with the traditional kimono sleeves, a sew on neckband and the ability to personalise the design with the addition of trims, fringing, etc. The pattern has the great layers feature and spans a large size range from 6-26 AU/UK.

                                                   

I made the mid thigh length and didn’t add any trims to mine, although many testers did and they look amazing. My fabric was some floral chiffon fabric (assuming 100% polyester) specifically bought for this kimono as I had a particular look in mind that came from some Pinterest inspiration. This is a really quick project to sew up, even for an advanced beginner, although a thin, drapey fabric makes it a bit tricky to sew.

I do love this look and did take it away for our recent family vacation as both a pool cover-up but also to wear over a basic black dress for a casual night out. Sorry there aren’t any photos, I was too busy enjoying my family time.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links

Pippa Wrap Dress/Top by DesignerStitch Patterns

You guessed it! Another pattern test* for Ann of DesignerStitch Patterns**. As much as I have been testing lately, I’m amazed how quickly the designers are preparing patterns. This pattern test happened sometime in September 2016 but I am only just getting around to posting it.

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The Pippa wrap dress** is a great pattern. Most wrap dresses are for knits but this one is for wovens. It comes with two sleeve lengths and peplum top, knee or tea length skirt. The bodice has a cross over front wrap with a self bound neckline attached to the wrap front skirt.

For the dress version I went for the knee length version, thinking this will be a summer staple. I used some flowy printed rayon circus in blue/white (100% rayon). This pattern really lends itself to a romantic types of fabric that have good drape.

I decided to make up the top version too with white rayon (100% rayon). Construction wise, everything fits together perfectly, and is explained clearly in the instructions. There is plenty of coverage for both the bodice and skirt wrap to not feel like you will have any indecent exposure. Both my versions were made with the shorter sleeve length.

                pippa-top-side-2                     pippa-top-front pippa-top-back dsc_0073

I’m happy that I have made two quick summer wardrobe additions with a great fitting pattern although they aren’t getting much wear at the moment as we are heading into winter down under. Someday, I won’t say soon, I plan to sew a chambray version of this dress.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links

Georgia Tops by DesignerStitch Patterns

Amongst unselfish sewing for my girls I have been doing some sewing of my own, namely pattern testing* for DesignerStitch Patterns, again.

The Georgia top/dress is a comfy yet classy wardrobe staple. It has a boxy look, no darts so is easy to fit, with wide sleeves and optional back pleat. It gives you a good opportunity to mix fabrics and of course has the option of making a top or dress. There is also the layer feature so you only need to print the size(s) you need in addition to a copy shop printable version.

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For both of my versions I opted for the pleat-free back.

My first version was made during testing, using some not very friendly fabrics, navy premium faille (100% polyester) for the body, and navy 100% dance poly chiffon (100% polyester) for the yoke. I may have slightly used too much heat when pressing because I’m not sure if this sits quite right and there may have been some shrinkage of the fabrics. Pattern pieces are provided to make the neck binding.

It is a really quick sew, and like always, everything lines up perfectly and instructions are easy to understand.

My second version was planned as a dressier summer top, using would you believe, a bed sheet from IKEA (52% poly/ 48% cotton). I liked the stiffness of the fabric and the lightness, almost like a linen, not to mention for $6 I have heaps of fabric left for other projects. For the yoke I used some white rayon remnants (100% rayon) from a yet to finish top from 6 months ago and still counting, and the sleeve bands are faux ivory leatherette (50% PU/ 40% poly) from my Salamanca jacket.

Georgia topo front Georgia top side               Georgia top back

It’s a great top, and the dress is too, but it’s just not my particular style. Not sure if it would flatter me or make me look frumpy. Perhaps when summer rolls around I may try it more as a beach cover up dress or add a belt or tie.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns

It’s been a while since I contemplated making something from my Cold Weather SWAP 2016, and realistically I think by the time I’m even half way through sewing the remainder of the items, winter will be over. I am motivated to sew but I have been living in jeans and a sweater with a jacket and haven’t had anywhere exciting to go really.

I did however make my cape. My inspiration was something flowy, less structured. I’ve had this fabric since January of this year and bought it on a whim when it was on sale, although it was the heart of summer. Stars aligned and the testing* call went out for the Kerry Capelet by DesignerStitch Patterns.

Kerry cape back 2                            Kerry cape side 3 Kerry cape side 4

The fabric is black Mexican Inca poncho (polyester/cotton), and although I have prewashed the fabric, it’s a tad stiff perhaps for this project, not to mention it’s a smelly fabric, even after laundering. It has that hessian bag kind of smell. Hopefully with more wear it will soften up, and smell better. The cape is completely lined with black pongee lining (100% polyester). The Kerry Capelet and has the option of two lengths. I made the short version and it’s a great length.

There are lots of pattern pieces and the instructions are really thorough, with both images and photos to walk you through construction. It helps if you have done a bagged lining before but by no means necessary. It just helps to visualise things a little better. There is a bit of hand sewing at the end to close up the lining and armholes and to keep the hem from peeking out.  Kind of cathartic at the end of this project!

I had a hard time finding a closure I liked. I didn’t feel any buttons were appropriate, and after some surfing on the net, decided a leather buckle would be cool, but not so cool to purchase, it was hard to find and finally came up with a D-ring leather buckle. I think I may like it better with a second buckle sewn on,  I can’t really decide though, but considering that one buckle cost $12.00, the buckles would probably end up costing more than the fabric itself relative to size.

buckle

I’m really happy with this cape, it’s classy and cozy. Now I just need more outings to wear it too.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Julie Blouse by DesignerStitch Patterns

I’m all over the place at the moment with my blogging, a bit out of order, actually a lot out of order!!! Much of my pattern testing lately has been for DesignerStitch Patterns. Ann has been pumping them out, ready to be released as somewhat of a collection and all the patterns I have tested to date have been well fitting and really, wardrobe staples.

The Julie Blouse* is a very much on trend blouse, such that one of my friends was wearing an almost identical style of top, barr a few minor differences, to our recent catch up. The style is a blouson, cross-over front with a longer back. Sleeves can be rolled up or left long and the collar is convertible.
Julie Blouse front 1
                                   Julie Blouse side 2 Julie Blouse back

I used some stash multi-coloured geometric poly chiffon (100% polyester), it really requires a fabric with good drape to show off the front cross-over feature, not highly evident with my fabric however. There is a fair amount of ease in this top so I’d probably recommended to go down a size if you want a more fitted style, I went down two from my normal size and it is still roomy. Just make sure to check pattern measurements for yourself, don’t take it from me.

It isn’t a very complicated sew but does require concentration, especially when getting the cross-over part together. The instructions/diagrams have been modified since testing but otherwise the pattern itself is pretty much the same. I usually have a rule of thumb that I don’t write/review a garment until I have made at least a second version from the final pattern but in this case there weren’t any changes to fit/style.

For the interfacing, I used white because that is what I had, even though the top is predominantly black, but in this case it made the colours more vibrant, and really at the end of the day it isn’t that noticeable.

I do want to make a white version for spring though, it’s such a versatile pattern, unlike my tester version which is bright and loud, I just figured I better post about this top now because getting around to actually making version two may be a while away.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

Alyse Pants by DesignerStitch Patterns

Are you after that elusive perfect pant pattern? I know I am. I have made 2 pairs of well fitting, but not perfect pants in the past, the Sewaholic Thurlows and Simplicity 3850 Built by Wendy (OOP). Both have been worn well and need replacing so I agreed to test the Alyse Pants* by DesignerStitch Patterns, of the patterns I have tested for Ann to date, I find the fit generally pretty good.

This is good value for money as the Alyse pattern comes with a slim, taper or wide leg and a short, 7/8th or long leg length. There are two front functional pockets and a side zip.

As always, I forged ahead with version 1 without alterations. The front rise was too long and I had back leg wrinkling, no different from RTW. This pattern is designed for fabrics with stretch, mine was black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex). The pants ended up shorter than I would have liked as when I got home from the fabric store my fabric measured 1.5m even though I paid for two. I wasn’t about to take the kids back so got creative with my cutting. Most pieces fit but I was 5cm short on the front leg pieces so shortened the back legs too. I ended up hemming them with 25mm single fold black bias binding to preserve as much length as possible. The other option would have been to do the shorter length but given it’s autumn, these are more functional.

         Alyse pants side                   Alyse pants front Alyse pants front 2 Alyse pants back

Version 2 was made using black premium cotton sateen (96% cotton/ 4% spandex) again. Due to some excess fabric at the front with my first pair, for version 2 I removed a 2cm wedge from the front, starting 8cm below the waist line and at a length of 15cm. This time I turned up the length as instructed.

Alyse pants v2 side                                        Alyse pants v2 side 2 Alyse pants v2 back

FYI, I have actually worn the second pair so much I noticed some fabric runs/damage in one of the calves so not only do I have to sew another pair, I will probably cut these short to capri length for spring to salvage them.

fabric run

 You just have to be aware that since the suggested fabric may have a stretch component, you may get some bagging out after wearing them for a day but they are a well fitting and great written pattern.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing, all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.